First Nations feminist says 'two spirit' gender expression is a colonial invention

“First Nations women know where babies come from,”


A First Nations feminist scholar told a crowd in Burnaby, British Columbia recently that the “two spirit” concept is a colonial invention and was first promoted in 1990 by gay rights activists as a way of depicting people who identify as both gay and indigenous.

Dr. Cherry Smiley criticized the entire transgender movement for attempting to undermine women’s rights and erode the feminist creed that women have historically been oppressed by men, according to a report in The New Westminster Times.

If biological men can pose as women, women’s rights are downgraded in the process, Smiley argued, dismissing the two-spirited talk as something that is not even in the First Nations lexicon.

Smiley spoke at “The Feminists Speak Out,” a March 21 event, organized by The Vancouver Lesbian Collective, which also featured British philosopher Dr. Kathleen Stock.

“Women are f*cking pissed off,” declared Smiley, a member of both the Nlaka’pamux and Diné Nations.

Smiley, who has authored the book Not Sacred Not Squaws: Indigenous Feminism Redefined, castigated transgender activists for appropriating First Nations culture with the notion that “two or even three or four genders” is a product of that experience.

“First Nations women know where babies come from,” Smiley told an appreciative audience, reiterating her belief that it is biological sex and not “gender” that characterizes how aboriginal people understand the dynamic of male and female relationships.

Smiley insisted that First Nations have not recognized rigid parameters for the sexual division of labor because she said indigenous women were traditionally accustomed to doing the same jobs as men did. She said the idea that “gender” can trump sex is a byproduct of the colonialism spawned by “white men.”

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